OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Opening remarks began at the Oklahoma County Courthouse Monday involving a 2018 incident in which a man was shocked in the Bricktown Canal when he tried to save a man who would ultimately die from electrocution.
Seeley had leaned against one of the canal’s light bollards. The light fixture gave way and Seeley fell into the canal with it. The light fixture’s wiring charged the water and Seely was electrocuted.
When Gann jumped in the water to help Seeley, he was shocked and sustained critical injuries.
The City of Oklahoma City settled with Gann for $169,650, according to the Associated Press, and for $175,000 for Seeley’s families.
The bollard lights were eventually removed by the city in 2021.
A new civil lawsuit opened in court Monday, with Seeley’s mother, Ginger Hinshaw, as well as Brandon Gann and his wife, Taylor Gann, suing an electrical contractor, Libra Electric Company, for work it once did on those light bollards. They’re claiming negligence and punitive damages.
The plaintiffs claim in court documents, “It is undisputed that Libra performed work on the light bollards and never notified the City of their dangerous condition. Wesley Seeley died and Brandon and Taylor Gann sustained injuries and damages as a result of the actions and inactions of Libra.”
Gann and his wife are asking Libra Electric for $896,294 in damages, including $848,894.24 in medical and hospital expenses. Seely’s mother is asking for an amount in excess of $10,000.
Libra Eclectic said in court documents they “deny any and all liability and asserts that it did not breach any legal duty. Rather, the injuries, death and damages claimed by the plaintiffs resulted solely from the fault of Mr. Seeley, of the City of Oklahoma City and others.”
In Monday’s proceedings, Libra’s attorney told a judge and jury that the company was hired by the City of Oklahoma City for a project to remove the bollards by Brickopolis in March 2018.
However, after a couple of days, they were stopped by the city due to Brickopolis’ concerns that the project was causing disruption to spring break tourists.
Libra said after that, they never touched the lights again.
The plaintiffs said Libra Electric should have alerted the city of problems with the bollards, such as how they weren’t protected by ground fault circuit interrupters, which can turn off the electricity in the case of disruption to its typical current flow and that the bollards were too close to the canal water.
Libra Electric responded that the bollards had always been the City of Oklahoma City’s ultimate construction, design, and maintenance responsibility since they were installed by the city in 1999.
The trial continues Tuesday morning.